Sylvie’s thriller & mystery review

By Sylvie Chartrand

Here are some of the books I have read so far this year, in order of when I read them, not by favourites. I mostly like mystery novels but hopefully you can find something that appeals to you in the book reviews below.


The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor

This is the story of Joe, a man who is down on his luck since losing his job. Some people are after him for a gambling debt, and he needs to get out of town. The last place he planned to go was his hometown Arhill, an old mining town where bad things happen. But when Joe receives an email saying, “I know what happened to your sister. It is happening again,” he decides he must return to his hometown and face the people and place he left behind. Joe returns to Arhill, gets a teaching job at the school he went to as a child and rents the cottage where he used to live. As Joe relives his childhood, what he discovers is far worse than he could ever have imagined. A suspenseful page-turner that will enthrall readers to the very end.


What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr

Nevada Barr is best known as the author of the bestselling, award-winning mystery series “Anna Pigeon.” In What Rose Forgot, Barr introduces readers to a new world. This is the story of Rose, a 68-year-old woman who wakes up in a meadow wearing a hospital gown and not remembering how she got there. Two teenagers see her and think she lives in the nearby nursing home. Once she’s in the nursing home, all she can think about is getting away again without knowing why. She decides to stop taking her medication and when she feels more lucid, she hatches a plan to escape again and does. After a man tries to kill her, she enlists the help of her sister and granddaughter, and together they put the pieces together. This is a darkly humorous adventure not to be missed.


I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins


I found this book at home and read it during the COVID-19 lockdown. It’s an older book, published in 2011. Mary Higgins Clark has written many books; I have read many of them, and she has not yet let me down. Her plots are always interesting – she is known as the Queen of Suspense for a good reason.

Alexandra (Zan) Moreland has been through alot in her life. She lost her parents in a tragic car accident in Rome, and her infant son, Matthew, was kidnapped from his stroller in Central Park while in the care of a babysitter. A couple of years later, divorced and concentrating on her career as an interior designer, bad things start happening again. Charges for clothes, an airline ticket and material for a job she is hoping to get start appearing on her credit card. On what would be Matthew’s fifth birthday, a picture of her appears in a magazine showing her taking Matthew out of the stroller the day he was kidnapped. She is arrested and must prove that the woman in the picture isn’t her. Luckily, she has an ally in Alvirah Meehan, someone who befriended her after Matthew’s disappearance. This picture raises a lot of questions: Is Matthew still alive? If he is, who has him and why? Can Alvirah solve the mystery, and will Zan finally know what happened to her son?


The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

If you are a fan of thrillers, this book is a must-read. This is the story of Rowan Caine, a live-in nanny in a luxurious but remote house. She soon finds out that the nannies before her didn’t stay long, that something chased them away, and soon enough she realizes that something strange is happening in the house. There are noises at night, and windows and doors seem to open by themselves. After being left alone for weeks with children who are misbehaving, without another adult around except for Jack Grant, the handyman, a child dies and Rowan is accused of murder. The story is told in letters, as Rowan writes to a lawyer while awaiting trial to explain her innocence and to try to convince him that she did not kill anyone.

All of these books (and many more) are available by request in print, as e-books, and as downloadable audiobooks from the Ottawa Public Library’s website: If you have any questions about requesting an item, your account or accessing any of OPL’s services and resources (including e-books and digital audiobooks), give us a call at 613-580-2940.


Sylvie Chartrand is a public service assistant at the Sunnyside branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

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